Girls vs. Boys and School Discipline
We have a new drama at our house this week. My 5th grade son was kicked in the shins by a girl at school. When the principal called our house to inform us, we figured no big deal. Our son will be fine. We thought he might come home, show us where he was kicked and then it would be over. WRONG! It wasn’t his leg that bothered him so much. It was how the school dealt with the incident. He got off the bus, walked in the house and told us, “The School is Sexist!” I don’t think I have ever seen my son this upset about something that happened at school.
You’ll need a little history to understand where he is coming from. A few weeks ago, he got in trouble at school for defending himself on the playground. He received an in-school suspension and the principal explained the school’s zero tolerance policy. If you kick, punch, or hurt another student, it is considered a fight and you will be disciplined. He got the message!
So in his mind, this girl kicked him and she should be disciplined the same way. Well, guess what? She was sent back to class after it happened and my son could not understand why she didn’t receive an in-school suspension. The principal told my son the girl claimed it was an accident. But my son says there were witnesses who saw the kick and it was clearly intentional and unprovoked. I had no answer for him. I couldn’t explain it myself.
So I emailed the principal and asked him to follow-up with my son. I explained my son’s confusion. Why would he get disciplined and this girl appeared to get off scott free?
The principal obliged and met with my son. However, my son came home again and said it still doesn’t add up. He’s still upset.
Now, I have asked the principal to contact me. But I am not sure how to handle this. I don’t think I can change the situation. My gut says it’s almost the end of the school year, my son is moving up to the Junior High and I should just let it go. I’ve tried to tell my son the same thing, but he feels so wronged by the system.
How is your school with discipline? Do girls get away with more than boys? Is this just an isolated incident? What would you do if you were me? Personally, I was hoping to stay out of it and just let my son deal with it. Would love some advice on this one.
I agree with your gut. Always go with the gut. 🙂 Your son has been “wronged” and life isn’t always fair and just, but this is a great opportunity for him to learn from. You approached the principle and your son was able to meet with him/her. In the end he has to respect the decision even if it sucks. That isn’t easy. 🙂 It’s great your son has been able to see the proper way to approach authority and speak up about things like this, even if he wasn’t happy with the final decision.
You’re right. There is a good lesson here. Life isn’t always going to be fair and in the end you have to respect the decision, even if you disagree. Will try to reiterate this message tonight. We’ll see how it goes. Thank you.
Slippery slope! Had the same situation with my son in 3rd grade and had to give him a few pointers on physical and verbal self defense. Don’t let the school off the hook….yet. Make sure you have the facts and the truth and what is right will prevail. However, it may not be apparent immediately.
Thanks Kris. Think I am going to take a fact finding approach with the principal and just listen.
Oh this is hard. I agree this is an important lesson, but I also think that the school has an obligation here. It’s not fair treatment and the little girl broke the rules. I think you’ve done a good job of trying to get both stories and I think the school definitely has an obligation to explain what’s happened.
Thanks Kristina. i’m surprised the principal didn’t call me today. My son asked again before bed if we had spoken yet. I just said he must be looking into it further and getting more details before calling me back. We’ll see.
Hi Iryanis. I notice this happened ten days ago, and I’m wondering how things turned out. For what it’s worth, it means a great deal to my kids to know I’m on their side and will take anyone to the mat any time of year when the schools are misbehaving. This does sound pretty sexist. Always best to begin by questioning and getting the whole picture. I don’t know about your son, but my children aren’t above putting a spin on things until I dig a bit deeper. But I do know it will mean a great deal to your son to know he can count on you to be in his corner. Good for you!
That being said, my daughter is the one who used to get into trouble for fighting in grade school, not my son. She was most unrepentant, and I backed her up on that a couple of times. Kids are quite rough on the playground, and the teachers don’t pay attention. They just don’t want to deal with it. Once a boy was hitting and hurting other kids during a game, and my daughter went after him. She later told the principal that the boy needed a taste of his own medicine. The principal was familiar with the boy, as well as my daughter, and neither was suspended. She ruled with common sense, but that is often the exception to the rule.
Thanks for your post. I hope you got some real answers.
Piper, I never heard back from the principal after he met one on one with my son. I like to think he never received my email. Maybe it went to his spam folder. My son has now stopped talking about the incident and I have decided not to pursue it. I can’t imagine the principal is going to change anything at this juncture. I think my son appreciated the fact that I blogged about it and brought the situation out in the open. I can’t believe how many parents came up and shared their own stories after reading this. And I guess, getting others just to think about situations like this makes me feel like I made some headway. Thank you for sharing your story.
Here’s the thing. I feel terrible for your son. However, I think that it might be a good thing for your son, in the long run. It teaches your son that women will almost always be sympathized with, when they assault a boy. People will always feel like he had it coming to him.
When he gets older, his girlfriend or wife, might do the same thing to him. He will realize that his violence toward her, will be viewed unfavorably, and her violence toward him will be viewed as, “he had it coming to him”. It just might keep him out of jail. It’s sad, but this is what the world has come to.
I was wondering, did your son hit the girl back? If he didn’t he shows a lot of restraint, and that he has an understanding of how the world is, even at a young age.
He did not kick back or retaliate. She kicked him and it was over. He just didn’t understand why her punishment appeared to be more lenient than his had been for an earlier incident. He had some issues with a boy on the playground on an earlier date and was told the school had a zero tolerance policy. Thanks for checking in and sharing your thoughts.
Sent from my iPhone
I gotta tell ya, this kind of stuff really pisses me off. At the risk of not sounding like a gentlemen, I have to tell ya, if your son had hit the girl back, I couldn’t blame him for it. You shouldn’t either.
With that being said, it is good that he learns not to hit women back, even if they hit him first, for no reason at all. He will always be the one who suffers for it, unfortunately. Later in life, it will be the police getting involved, and jail sentences instead of suspensions.
I guess I don’t have to tell him that though, do I.